Curious what the NetGalley team is reading? Wish you could steal a peek at our bookshelves? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the books we’re recommending this month, and share your favorite recent reads in the comments!
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin has been on my to-read list for far too long, and I finally decided to dive into her works starting with her debut novel: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This is the first in the Inheritance Trilogy and follows Yeine Darr, who is summoned to a court filled with schemers and gods at the behest of her ruling grandfather. From the start I was captivated by Yeinne’s strange visions, the playful god Sieh’s boundless charm, and the deadly god Naha’s mysterious backstory. Jemisin’s world felt like none I’ve ever seen before in fantasy, and the mysteries woven throughout left me guessing until the very end. I’m really looking forward to checking out the next book. If you’re looking to escape into a fantasy world, I definitely recommend checking this one out!
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
Earlier this month I picked up The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert, a young adult novel that follows two teens on their day-long mission to cast a ballot. Marva Sheridan is incredibly passionate about voting, and when she sees Duke Crenshaw turned away at the poll, she decides that she’s going to do whatever possible to help him vote. This is my first Brandy Colbert book, and it definitely makes me want to read more from her. Colbert does a fantastic job of exploring the importance of voting and the barriers that people face when trying to cast their votes (covering injustices big and small such as the fact that Americans aren’t given time off to vote or polling places being shutdown without notice). It was timely, poignant, and gave me the hope and energy that I hoped it would!
Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray
One of my November reading goals is to tick off novellas that have been on my TBR for ages, and I am so glad that this led me to finally reading Briarley. Set during World War II, this historical romance reimagines the story of “Beauty and the Beast” with a parson who stumbles upon a hall owned by a being cursed to be half-man and half-dragon. Aster Glenn Gray does an incredible job of exploring internalized homophobia, the complex and often harmful relationship between religion and the queer community, and the vital importance of learning to love yourself. Briarley reads like a classic fairytale, and brilliantly ties together the familiar elements from the original with clever twists that serve the new setting and characters. This enchanting story took hold of my heart, and is one of my favorite things I’ve read this year.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
Trung Le Nguyen intertwines three stories together in an incredible way in this graphic novel. The first follows Tiến, who is struggling to tell his Vietnamese parents that he’s gay. Next is the fairytale that Tiến and his mother are reading together, and finally the book looks to Tiến’s mom and explores her journey from Vietnam to America. Between heartfelt and engrossing storytelling and absolutely stunning artwork, this beautiful book wholly charmed me. Nguyen ties together themes in all three of his plotlines that build to a conclusion that brought me to tears. It’s a moving story about family, finding yourself, and being true to who you are. Plus there is beautiful fashion artwork in the fairytale sections that I still can’t get out of my head. This book is just so, so beautiful and if you’re looking to pick up something magical this season, I highly recommend The Magic Fish.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
When Roy is falsely accused and imprisoned, he and his wife Celestial must face their past, present, and future all at once. Tayari Jones artfully weaves love and loyalty with terrible circumstances and challenging choices. From the book description, this book is “a deeply insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control.” It is heart-rending and beautiful.
A Good Duke Is Hard to Find by Christina Britton
A Good Duke is Hard to Find is the first book that I’ve read from Christina Britton, but it won’t be my last. This book follows Lenora Hartley, who has been left at the altar three times and has officially given up on the prospect of finding a husband—but that’s not stopping her father from trying to marry her off. She and her best friend decide to take a trip to the Isle of Synne to lift her spirits. There she meets Peter Ashford, heir to the isle’s dukedom. Peter is a rogue who doesn’t want to marry. Instead, he plans to be the last of the line to spurn the last duke, who failed to help Peter’s mother when she needed it. Lenora and Peter have great chemistry and there’s a lot of fun miscommunication with Lenora’s father arriving with her next fiancé. I found Britton’s use of Norse mythology, art, and storytelling to be very interesting and the book as a whole was a fun read that I just couldn’t put down.
(Psst: Here are more dukes to fall for while waiting for the Netflix premier of Bridgerton!)
Slay by Brittney Morris
Slay is definitely one of my favorite YA books I’ve read this year. Brittney Morris’ debut follows Kiera Johnson, who has developed a secret online game that allows only Black gamers to invite other Black gamers. However, when a teen’s murder is connected to the game her secret world is brought to light and the media begins debating whether the Black invite-only is “anti-white.” Kiera spends a lot of this book thinking about her own identity as she goes to an all-white school and many people she knows condemn the idea of the game she’s worked so hard on. There is also a large theme of how difficult it can be for women in the gamer world to succeed. It’s a truly powerful story as Kiera has to tell her family about this huge secret she’s kept, but there’s also some really fun and sweet moments as Kiera grows closer romantically to another gamer in her world. The audiobook really brings this book to life because Morris includes points of view from other gamers in this world. Reading this felt like Marie Lu‘s Warcross meeting The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole
Now that I’ve ticked Can’t Escape Love off my TBR, I’ve officially finished Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. This novella takes place during A Duke by Default and follows Portia’s sister Reggie. Reggie is having trouble falling asleep and contacts Gus, a former puzzle live streamer whose voice used to help with her insomnia. What follows is a nerdy story of Reggie and Gus helping each other and developing feelings along the way. It reads like a friends-to-lovers or second chance romance, despite the fact that the protagonists just met—an amazing feat for a 140-page novella. I also love how Alyssa Cole makes these two characters feel so real. Gosh, I just adore this series so much.
Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy
Feminist historical romance is my catnip and Diana Quincy’s Her Night with the Duke is exactly that. This book has such a fun inciting incident with the heroine, Leela, and hero, Hunt, meeting at an inn during a storm. There is only one room left and they end up sharing it. Things get hot and heavy and the hero departs in the morning, however they reunite at a house party and learn that Leela is the widowed stepmother of the young woman Hunt is betrothed. Most of the book is Leela and Hunt trying to fight off their attraction to each other as their relationship would be scandalous for so many reasons. Hunt is infatuated with Leela and it’s so fun to read how much he wants her. Leela is also different from the typical historical romance heroine as a travel writer and a woman of Arabic descent. Her relationship with her mother’s culture was very interesting to read. This was my first Diana Quincy read, but it won’t be my last!
Little Deadly Secrets by Pamela Crane
I devoured this book in about two sittings. A huge fan of Pamela Crane’s books, I had to grab this as soon as I saw it, and boy, am I glad I did! Three inseparable friends with a lifetime of experiences behind them all seem to find themselves hitting a rough patch in their relationships and lives. While from the outside life seems so idyllic for them all, the reality of what goes on behind closed doors is more than any of these women can handle alone. This book touches on so many important topics: abuse, rape, betrayal, feeling less than, and, of course, friendship and marriage. I laughed and cried with these women from page one and my only regret is that it’s over already!